Receiving Stolen Property

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Receiving Stolen Property in California

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney

California Penal Code 496

Receiving Stolen Property is part of a group of laws that define the general category of burglary and can be charged as both a misdemeanor or a felony. Harsh criminal penalties are posed on people who are found guilty of buying, receiving, concealing, selling or withholding property from the rightful owner.

Sometimes, charges may also involve one or more of the following additional charges:

  1. Petty Theft – California Penal Code 484, 459.5
  2. Grand Theft – California Penal Code 487
  3. Burglary – California Penal Code 459

Receiving stolen property usually occurs when the property an individual possess’ was stolen, knowing the property to be so stolen. The critical issue in proving that you are guilty in receiving stolen property is having knowledge that the property was stolen. If the prosecution cannot prove that you knew property was stolen, then a good possibility exists that you can be found not guilty of the charge.

For example, if someone sold you a brand new flat screen Sony television set for $200, and you knew the set was easily worth $3,000, you may be guilty of receiving stolen property, as you likely knew or should have known the property was stolen. However, if you were in possession of a computer that you purchased from someone for $500, and you know the property was stolen, you may not be found guilty.

Generally the thief and the person who knowingly receives the stolen property from him are guilty of distinct and separate offences are not considered accomplices of each other, unless they conspire in advance. Mere possession of stolen property is insufficient to prove the offense of receiving stolen property. Again, the key element is knowledge.
A person who is not aware that property is stolen when he comes in possession, but subsequently learns that it was stolen, can be found guilty of receiving stolen property, if that information is withheld from the true owner.

If a police officer questions you regarding allegedly stolen property, do not give any statements, as knowledge is the key element in proving this offense.

The following are instances where the police can use statements to prove knowledge:

  • If they see that the property has identification marks removed;
  • If the property was purchased by you at a sub-market price;
  • If you give a false name or address to the police officer regarding the property;
  • Any false statements regarding how you came into possession of the property.

Defense Strategy

You can be charged event when there is a misunderstanding between two parties about ownership over property. All that the prosecutor needs is evidence that the stolen property was in the defendant’s possession at the time of arrest. Moreover, the defendant does not necessarily have to have the property in their hands; it can be inside of a car they are driving or a passenger, the stolen property can be in their home or other parts of their property.

There is a defense if the property was gained openly and under a claim of good faith. For instance, a good defense would be if you can show that you did not know that the property was stolen. But like any criminal charge, going alone (defending yourself) is not a good strategy. The charges are serious enough that you may end up with a criminal record and jail time (which is hard to recover if you are innocent of the charges).

Give us a call so we can plan a defense strategy and help you work with the laws concerning of embezzlement in California. The initial consultation is free.

There are many issues involved in all cases, and if you call the Law Offices of Stull & Stull, we can discuss them all with you. Don’t take your freedom for granted. Get professional legal help as soon as you possibly can to plan a defense strategy. Remember that the initial consultation is free.

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